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Remember, it's never too late to register for a class, even after it's begun. You can always catch up with any sessions you may have missed by watching the video recordings of previous sessions. The time remaining to register before the first class session is below, so stop hesitating and get to it!

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NEW COURSE! Offered 2023 Term 4!

  • This course is offered during the 2023 Term 4 (Nov-Dec) period as an in-person course at the EarthDiverse Centre in Hamilton, New Zealand, live-streamed via Zoom if you live elsewhere, and as video recordings of the live sessions if you cannot attend the regularly scheduled class.

Date & Time:

Begins Wednesday 15 November 2023

  • Our 2023 Term 4, Humanity's Mad Search for Utopia course meets on Wednesdays from 11:00am-1:00pm beginning on 15 November2023 (New Zealand time) and continues for four consecutive weekly sessions. The last class of the Term is held on Wednesday 6 December 2023.

  • If you live outside of New Zealand and wish to Zoom in to our live class sessions, check the nearest local Time Zone equivalent below.

Time Zone equivalents:

for live-streaming Zoom Sessions from New Zealand. If your Time Zone doesn't suit our live-streamed class, you can also access our courses by watching the live-recorded sessions that are posted to the course webpage each week, usually within 1-2 days.

  • Honolulu, Hawai’i: begins Tue 14 Nov 2023, 12:00-2:00pm

  • US Pacific: begins Tue 14 Nov 2023, 2:00-4:00pm

  • US Central: begins Tue 14 Nov 2023, 4:00-6:00pm

  • US Eastern: begins Tue 14 Nov 2023, 5:00-7:00pm

  • London, UK: begins Tue 14 Nov 2023, 10:00pm-12:00am

  • New Delhi, India: begins Tue 14 Nov 2023, 3:30-5:30am

  • Bangkok, Thailand: begins Wed 15 Nov 2023, 5:00-7:00am

  • Singapore & Shanghai: begins Wed 15 Nov 2023, 6:00-8:00am

  • Tokyo, Japan: begins Wed 15 Nov 2023, 7:00-9:00am

  • Sydney Australia: begins Wed 15 Nov 2023, 9:00-11:00am


HIS215: Humanity's Mad Search for Utopia

  • From the Garden of Eden to 21st century Jihad and back, this four-week course will take an historic look at the human capacity, frequent and frantic, to pursue the dream of perfection. It will take in the Greeks and their nostalgia for the “golden age”, the Roman vision of empire, the Christian one of paradise, Karl Marx and the socialist state, the darker dystopias of the 20th century and our own troublesome Gloriavale.

  • This four week course will take be on Wednesday 15 Nov , 22 Nov, 29 Nov and 6 Dec

Lecture 1

Wednesday 15 November 2023

Beginning with the Greek poet, Hesiod and his Works and Days, followed by the Garden of Eden narrative, the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel, the Book of Daniel and Enoch and Plato’s Republic.
Garden of Eden

Lecture 2

Wednesday 22 November 2023

The Roman poet, Virgil, and his utopic vision for Rome. Christianity and the Kingdom of God. The Essenes, monasticism, and the Book of Revelation.

Lecture 3

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Thomas More’s Utopia. John Calvin and Geneva. 19th-century perfectionism in America. Onedia. Seventh Day Adventism. Mormonism. Marxism. Hegel. Comte.

Lecture 4

Wednesday 6 December 2023

The twentieth century. Communist Revolution. Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man. Die Brucke. Fascism. Maoism. Counterculture of the late 60’s. Ohu in New Zealand. New Age movements. Islamic revolution. Gloriavale.

Course curriculum:

Week by week new material will be posted throughout the duration of the course. Video recordings of each weekly session will be posted here after 1-2 days after each class.

    1. EarthDiverse Course Information

    2. EarthDiverse Zoom instructions

    1. Lecture 1

    2. 20231115 T4.1 HIS215 Mad Search for Utopia PDF

    3. 20231115 T4.1 HIS215 video

    1. Lecture 2

    2. 20231122 T4.2 HIS215 Mad Search for Utopia 2 PDF

    3. 20231122 T4.2 HIS215 video

    1. Lecture 3

    2. 20231129 T4.3 Mad Search for Utopia 3 PDF

    3. 20231129 T4.3 HIS215 video

    1. Lecture 4

    2. 20231206 T4.4 Mad Search for Utopia PDF

    3. 20231205 T4.4 HIS215 video

Additional course info:

  • Videos and PDF content of class presentations or whiteboard notes are uploaded weekly after each live session
  • Begins on Wed 15 Nov 2023
  • NZ time: Weds 11:00am-1:00pm

Meet our Instructor:

History, Literature & Philosophy Instructor Peter Dornauf, MA Dip Tchg

Peter Dornauf has taught in secondary schools, Wintec and Waikato University collectively for over 25 years. He is a well know Waikato artist, art critic and a writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. His book “Days of Our Deaths” serves as the basis for one of Peter’s other popular EarthDiverse courses, “A Cultural History of Death.” Peter also teaches our “The Spiritual in Modern Art” course and continues to develop additional EarthDiverse courses for future Terms.


This is a hybrid class with both in-person sessions in our classrooms and streamed live via Zoom.

All in-person classes are held at the EarthDiverse Centre located at 401 Anglesea Street, Hamilton Central, Hamilton (located just north of the Hamilton Central Bus Station) (entrance is located on the side of the building, see map below). Those looking for parking for our evening classes can park just in front of the building in any of the available car parks. Daytime parking can be found in our dedicated car parks, or free 2-hour on-street daytime parking can be found just in front of Anglesea Street.

Distance Learning:

This course has distance-learning options for those unable to attend the live class sessions in Hamilton. Students have three options for attending our courses once they have registered:

  • Attend in-person classes in our Hamilton classrooms at the regularly scheduled day and time.

  • Attend our live on-line classroom sessions via Zoom at the regular scheduled day and time.

  • Watch the live-recorded class sessions at your leisure, at a time, day and place more suited to your schedule.

Distance-Learning options:

Live Zoom sessions and Video-Recordings

  • In addition to our in-person classes in Hamilton, our courses offer distance learning options for those unable to attend classes in-person. Live-streamed Hamilton classes are available via free Zoom software for those living outside the Waikato. Live-streaming allows you to participate fully in your own learning, ask questions of the instructor and participate fully in the same way as if you were in the physical classroom.

  • Those unable to attend the scheduled date and time of the actual class sessions, or those who need to miss a class or two due to previous engagements or unexpected illness, can watch any or all of the live-recorded video sessions on their computers, laptops, tablets or mobile devices and study at their own pace and in their own time.

  • Detailed instructions on how to access our distance learning components will be sent after completing your registration. There are no additional fees for this service. However, distance learners will need access to a desktop or laptop computer with a good quality web-camera (tablet devices and mobile phones can also access our live-streamed classes), a built-in microphone (most modern laptops have built-in microphones) or a headset with a microphone. You will also need to download and install the free Zoom software on your computer or device. Those accessing the video recordings will be able to do so with a simple web browser on any device.

Pricing options:

All prices in New Zealand dollars and includes GST. Unwaged includes students, seniors and retirees.


Those who cannot make the class meeting day and time via live Zoom sessions may consider accessing this course through the weekly recorded video sessions. Class videos are usually posted within 1-2 days of each live class session and are available for your own personal learning on a day and time of your choosing.

  • This class has no assignments, required readings, quizzes, tests or exams.

  • All classes encourage questions and group discussion.

  • PDF copies of each class presentation are posted weekly to the course webpage usually 1-2 days after each class so that you are free to focus on class content rather than taking notes. You are most welcome to come, sit back, relax, take part in and enjoy the discussions!

  • Course fees include a short tea/coffee/snack break in the middle of each session.

  • There are no refunds for missed classes.

  • Guests of registered participants are welcome to attend a single class at no charge.

  • Certificates of Completion for any particular Term Course or Series are available for Professional Development purposes upon request at the end of each Term or Series.


  • There are no prerequisites for this course.

  • Open to adults of any age (years 16 and above).


Love your courses!

Vicki Jacobsen

I have so enjoyed and appreciated all of the courses I have attended.  They have spurred long held interests and I am looking forward to pursuing the knowledge and the way of considering and understanding I have gained from you and your programmes. (2022 Term 2)